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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1999 Jan 19;254(2):424-9.

Regulation of ground squirrel Na+K+-ATPase activity by reversible phosphorylation during hibernation.

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Institute of Biochemistry and Department of Biology, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6, Canada.


Maintenance of skeletal muscle energy status during hibernation in ground squirrels, Spermophilus lateralis, was accompanied by a decrease in Na+K+-ATPase pump activity. Energy charge was maintained (0.89) during hibernation at the expense of total adenylates (decreased by 41%). Muscle Na+K+-ATPase activity was 9.1 U/mg protein in euthermic controls but decreased by 60% during hibernation. Enzyme activity was similarly suppressed in vitro when extracts of control muscle were incubated with ATP plus second messengers of protein kinases A, G or C whereas stimulation of protein phosphatases in muscle extracts from hibernators increased Na+K+-ATPase activity. Additional studies confirmed that suppression and reactivation of the enzyme in euthermic muscle extracts can be achieved with protein kinase A and alkaline phosphatase treatments, respectively, and indicated that phosphorylation changes the ATP dependency of the enzyme. Thus, hibernation-induced suppression of Na+K+-ATPase activity in muscle and other organs of ground squirrels, which is a key part of the overall suppression of metabolic rate that constitutes torpor, appears to be regulated via reversible protein phosphorylation.

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